Q: I’m being sent to collections for a house I moved out of 2.5 years ago. Can I be responsible for that?
My Ex and I rented a house. In 2017 I moved out and asked him to remove me from the lease. He said he would. we’ve had multiple conversations with him and the landlord for about a year and a half of removing my name from the lease which he reassured that would happen. (I have emails about all those conversations). I refused to give him the key to the house until he removed my name off lease. He said it was off so I gave him back the key ( rather he stole key from me). Today I get an email I’m being sent to collections from unpaid debt from that house. How can I resolve this? Can I sue my ex, what are my options? He’s had 2 families living there since i left. My credit score is being destroyed because of it. Help!
A: It was your obligation to be sure your name was removed from the lease if that was an option. Alternately, you likely should not have been liable for anything after the expiration of whatever lease you were on. That in turn may depend upon exactly what notice was provided to who, when. All this said, most landlord-tenant matters have a one year statute of limitations, meaning that anyone claiming that you owed them anything arising out of an Oregon residential landlord-tenant matter has one year to sue you in court or it is too late, regardless of whether the lawsuit would otherwise have merit. If a collection agency is coming after you just based on someone's assertion that you owe them money, as opposed to someone having already gotten a Judgment against you in court and is attempting to collect on it, then you may have unfair debt collection practice claims against them as well as potential damages from damage to your credit record. Until you get it all sorted out, I would not pay anyone a penny on the alleged debt. Doing so could harm your legal defenses, depending upon the exact facts. If unable to resolve on your own, consider reviewing with a local consumer law or collections attorney. Good luck.
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